It’s here, it’s here! No, not Sinterklaas in the Low Countries, but the annual Corruption Perceptions Index from Transparency International, published this morning. Featuring on the CPI 2013 are 177 countries – still no Guernsey, Jersey, Isle of Man, Gibraltar or Cayman Islands, I’m afraid. For an overview, I quote from the TI UK press release: “More than two thirds of the countries in the 2013 index score below 50, on a scale from 0 (perceived to be highly corrupt) to 100 (perceived to be very clean). The average country score this year is 43/100 – ask any school child what 43 out of 100 means on a test and you will get the same answer: failure. Denmark and New Zealand tie for first place with scores of 91. Afghanistan, North Korea and Somalia this year make up the worst performers, scoring just 8 points each.”
As for specifics, the UK has made a slight improvement – it is now ranked at position 14 with a score of 76 (compared to 17 and 74 last year). TI UK attributes this to “the continuing halo effect from the Bribery Act, and improved rhetoric from the UK government on tackling corruption”, but warns that “continued scandals related to politics and parliamentary ethics” may reverse this upwards trend.
The two big losers this year are Syria and Spain. Syria fell to position 168, dropping nine points along the way to score only 17 out of 100, which TI UK explains thus: “The civil war has stopped good governance in its tracks. For many years, state involvement in business through informal networks has contributed to an erratic economy. Families associated with the regime in one way or another came to dominate the private sector in addition to exercising considerable control over public economic assets.” As for Spain, its score is down 6 points to 59/100, almost certainly because “this year it suffered its largest ever corruption scandal over political party funding [and] both the Spanish Prime Minister and Royal family have been embroiled in corruption scandals.” It’s those pesky PEPs again.